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April 03, 2024 CHAIR COLUMN

April CRSJ Chair's Column

Happy Spring!

We have been busy here at the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section over the last few months.  In December, I had the privilege of learning from my friend, Bridgette Stumpf, Co-Founder and Director of the Network for Victim Recovery of DC about Trauma Informed Lawyering which has been one of the most popular Chair Chats that we have had, addressing an issue that has long needed attention from all of us as we seek to best represent our clients.

In January, the Section issued the most recent edition of Human Rights Magazine on Native American and Alaska Native Rights Issues featuring articles on Tribal water rights, the impact of the Violence Against Women Act on Tribal jurisdiction and the future of Native American Civil Rights.

I then had the opportunity to speak with Michael Santos, Chair of the ABA Commission on Homelessness and Poverty, about How to Use the Tax Code to Alleviate Poverty and Antonia Fasanelli, Council Member and Co-Director of the Economic Justice Committee of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section on the importance of the Grants Pass, OR v. Johnson for the rights of the unhoused.  In these two Chair Chats Michael and Antonia helped deepen our understanding of key issues at a critical time as we experience a significant housing crisis in the U.S.

In March, our fabulous council member, Pamelya Herndon interviewed Aja Brooks, the President of the State Bar of New Mexico about that journey in a Chair Chat. Also in March, we hosted a phenomenal webinar, What You Need to Know to Protect Your Clients In the Digital Age, as a part of our 6-part webinar series on AI and the Legal Profession: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges – Exploring the Power of AI While Navigating Its Complex Legal Implications.  There were several other amazing Chair Chats all of which are available for you review on our YouTube channel.

Finally, we also had the opportunity to honor Drucilla Stender Ramey at our Mid-Year meeting in February as the 2024 Father Robert F. Drinan Award Recipient. It was a wonderful opportunity to express our appreciation for Dru’s leadership and commitment to civil rights and social justice throughout her career.

As we look forward this year, we hope to seeing you at the Section’s Spring Business Meeting in Detroit, Michigan, May 8-11, where we are meeting with the ABA Commission on Homeless and Poverty at the same time as the ABA/NLADA Annual Equal Justice Conference where several of the members of our leadership will be presenting.

As always, I thank you for your continued support of the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section and invite you to participate in any one of our numerous Committees, at our upcoming business meeting in Detroit, or in helping lead development of our programming.

Robin R. Runge

ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, 2023-24 Chair

Robin R. Runge is the 2023-24 Chair of the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice. Currently, she is a Consultant and Distinguished Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University School of Law.